GENERAL ELECTION 2017: Vote highlights divisions over development in Wyre and Preston North
Bricks and mortar are set to dominate the election discourse in Wyre and Preston North, as controversy over development continues.
In the more rural areas of the constituency, residents have launched vociferous campaigns against large scale housing developments which they say will ruin their communities.
A lack of affordable housing continues to be a problem, but many people feel ‘swamped’ by the scale of the housing plans.
Former Garstang Town Councillor Lynn Harter said: “The main issue that will affect Garstang is definitely infrastructure. I do think people are very worried about the infrastructure. I’ve seen how the town has changed so much even in the last two to three years. This is before all the major development comes along.”
Local newsagent Richard Whyman sees a clear need to ensure there are appropriate jobs and affordable housing to keep young people in the constituency, as well as reliable broadband.
He said: “We desperately need a candidate committed to rural issues.”
The other issue that will have an impact is the constituency’s ageing population.
It’s predicted that by 2039 the Wyre borough area will have 40,000 people aged over 65 - the highest number of any local authority in Lancashire. This will have huge implications for future health care and housing.
The seat has been true blue since it was created in 2010, and Conservative Ben Wallace won the 2015 election with a comfortable majority of 14,000.
As a seat split over the rural area of Wyre and the urban area of northern Preston, the winning MP will also find residents expecting them to defend local services, such as libraries and health services, and take up concerns about highways maintenance, traffic congestion and parking problems in Fulwood.
Around Grimsargh, Goosnargh and Fulwood speculation continues about the knock on effects of the Broughton bypass – due to open this summer – and just how much traffic will tip back north of Preston and into Wyre, as well as whether multiple new housing developments locally will change the constituency for ever.